If you’re the type of person who takes really good care of what you own, you likely don’t wait until something is blatantly wrong with your car before bringing it to a mechanic.
Instead, you get your oil changed and rotate your tires regularly. You also bring your car in for tune-ups at specific intervals. You know that by being proactive with car maintenance, you’re much more likely to nip problems in the bud—before they spiral into unavoidable several-thousand-dollar repairs.
The same holds true in the world of healthcare. By embracing the concept of preventative healthcare and maintaining a habit of getting annual physicals, immunizations, regular blood work, and other similar medical services, you can identify potential areas of concern before they grow into serious health issues.
In the age of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many preventative care services are included in coverage at no extra cost. Unfortunately, many clients aren’t sure of precisely which services those might be. As such, they end up missing the opportunity to utilize preventative care services. In fact, one 2018 study found that only 8 percent of all U.S. adults take advantage of all of the preventative medical services that are available to them.
As an insurance salesperson, you can deliver more value—and, therefore, build a stronger business—by explaining preventative healthcare to your clients.
What Is Preventative Healthcare?
Many people wait until they’re sick to go to the doctor.
Like the name suggests, preventative healthcare is any medical service that is administered before an illness rears its ugly head. Some examples of preventative healthcare include cholesterol screening, colonoscopies (for adults ages 50-75), blood pressure screening, hepatitis B and C screening, immunizations, and more.
There are also additional preventative care services for women (e.g., anemia screening, gestational diabetes screening, and breast cancer mammography screenings for women over 40) and preventative care services for children (e.g., depression screening, autism screening, and behavioral assessments).
How Preventative Healthcare Can Help Lower Healthcare Costs
Differentiating yourself from other insurance agencies starts by demonstrating your worth and becoming a trusted adviser—someone who goes above and beyond, doing more than simply selling insurance. Explaining the value of preventative care to your clients, and showing them how it will help them save money over time, is a relatively easy way to do that.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of healthcare spending in the United States goes toward treating people with chronic illnesses and mental health conditions—many of which might have been delayed or altogether prevented through preventative care services.
By making preventative care a priority, it’s possible for the United States to reduce healthcare spending significantly. For example, a report from the surgeon general found that reducing hypertension by just 5 percent could translate into a $25 billion reduction in healthcare spending.
Add it all up, and preventative care may very well end up being a key component in reducing healthcare costs in the United States. Of course, if preventative healthcare helps us in the aggregate, it also helps clients on an individual basis.
To illustrate, imagine a 50-year-old man has decided to have a preventative colonoscopy screening to determine whether he has colorectal cancer. During the procedure, the doctor identifies and removes a number of polyps from the man’s colon. Luckily, the lab analysis found that the polyps were benign, and the man gets the peace of mind that comes with knowing he has a clean bill of health.
Now, let’s imagine that this same man didn’t go in for that colonoscopy. He waits until he experiences some issues and ends up going in for the procedure when he’s 60. Because it takes 10-15 years for a polyp to grow into cancer, the man is diagnosed with colon cancer.
If he had taken advantage of preventative care services, he might have been able to avoid this diagnosis altogether.
ACA and Preventative Healthcare: What You Need to Know
Ever since the ACA became the law of the land, Americans have had access to a slew of preventative care services that they don’t have to pay an extra dime for (assuming they have insurance).
But in the information age, when our phones are filled with text messages, news alerts, and other notifications, it can be difficult for the average healthcare client to become aware of what services are free, if for no other reason than that they might not have the time to research their options—and that’s if they even know the options exist in the first place.
The good news is that by making the proactive decision to explain preventative healthcare services to your clients, you can deliver more value to the people you serve—and help them experience better, more affordable healthcare outcomes because of it.
To learn more about how agencies like yours can get to the next level, check out our comprehensive guide, Quoting and Online Enrollment in an ACA World.